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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012--To Do List

What is Bloggiesta?

(From www.theresabook.comFall is a busy time of year with school starting and with a number of other blogging events going on, including Book Blogger Appreciation Week (don’t miss this!), but we wanted to give everyone some time to focus on those small tasks that fall by the wayside during busy times. Bloggiesta is the perfect event to check off those to-do lists and also get inspiration going into the wintry months! It’s also a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers you may have not met before or haven’t talked to in awhile. We’d love to have anyone interested to join in the fun!


Remember, the level of commitment during Bloggiesta is up to you. We’d love for you to find lots of time to devote to blogging with us during those three days, but if you have just one day that you can join us, or even just a few hours of one day, please do not hesitate to sign up.
If you decide to participate in the Fall 2012 edition you can expect:
  • to spend time that weekend (as much or as little as your schedule allows) working on your blog
  • to create a to do list to share on your blog and link up with other participants
  • to hopefully participant in several mini challenges and learn something new
  • to connect with other participants through blog hopping or twitter
  • to make new blogging friends!
  • to come away at the end of the three days with a spiffed up blog!


Read more: http://www.theresabook.com/2012/09/bloggiesta-participants-welcome-lets-get-signed-up/#ixzz27oVOho1y


So here's my To Do List:

1) Write Top Ten/Teaser Tuesday posts for all of October.
2) Write all of the guest posts I have coming up (there's currently four) and send them off.
3) Beef up my email list a bit.
4) Write all of my Thoughts for Thursdays posts for the month of October.
5) Visit at least 20 other bloggers participating in Bloggiesta.

Honestly, I'll be lucky to get through all that! I won't have as much time as I'd originally hoped. But, here's to progress. Baby steps, right? I had planned to hit the TBR list hard this October and get through lots of Halloween books. If I can get even half of October's posts written beforehand, that will really help. 

So, what's your Bloggiesta 2012 To Do LIst?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Follow Friday--Big Words



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 



Q: What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.



Photo Credit: brainyflix.wordpress.com
I'm reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and he uses a lot of interesting words. Recently, I had to look up the word mendacious. It means: telling lies, especially habitually; dishonest; false; untruthful, etc.

What word have YOU had to look up lately?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday (T4T) -- 6

WELCOME TO THOUGHTS FOR THURSDAY!


Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quote I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. I'll include a linky list, or you can just respond in the comments.

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!  


This week's theme is heroes! Here are some great quotes!


"Without heroes we are all plain people and don't know how far we can go."--Bernard Malamud
“Men have to have heroes, but no man can ever be as big as the need, and so a legend grows around a grain of truth, like a pearl.” --Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
“Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments.” --Kevin Costner
“There is power within great sacrifice, within noble deeds. There are moments... brief, shining moments when the impossible becomes possible.” --Kelly Keaton, A Beautiful Evil
“To be heroic does not have to mean possessing the ability to stand against the evils of the world, either well or successfully, but just that one is willing to stand.” --Mike Alsford, Heroes and Villains
"A coward dies a thousand deaths. A hero, only one." --William Shakespeare
Which quote is your favorite and why? Do you have any quotes to add?

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Use the Element of Surprise to Better Your Writing


As I explained on my other blog, I attended a writer’s conference last weekend and it was amazing! A few of my posts over the next week or two will probably center on things I learned there. This is one of those posts. I attended a class on using the element of surprise in your writing, taught by Marion Jensen. This is what I learned.

Photo Credit: 123rf.com
Surprise in literature can be characterized as something unexpected that evokes an emotional reaction in your reader.

There are Big Surprises and Little Surprises.

You can usually only get away with two or three big surprises per book. These are major things; game changers. You only want two or three at most because 1) too many will exhaust and frustrate your readers and 2) too many renders the others less shocking. If you’re doing something shocking every other chapter, the shock will wear off eventually and the emotional reaction will be much less. YOU DON’T WANT THAT! Besides, too many surprises start to feel unrealistic and you may lose your readers.

The hook of your novel can be one of your big surprises. The Hunger Games is a good example of this. One of the biggest shockers of that book is that this society is sending their children to fight one another to the death and calling it a game. That was the novel’s hook and a few people showed up to find out what happened in that book, didn’t they? Just sayin’.

Little surprises are not game changers but can keep the audience on the edge of their seats. You can pepper your manuscript a bit more liberally with these. These are little details that the reader thinks they can predict, but they really can’t. If you can keep them guessing, you can keep them turning pages and buying books.

Watch out for:
1)      Predictability. This will frustrate your reader. Marion says that when you are thinking about the surprise, disregard your first three ideas. If you’ve thought of them, so will someone else. Go for what they won’t think of.
2)      Know your Genre. Make sure the surprise you’re going for hasn’t been done before. For example, if you write a scifi and your big reveal is that your bad guy is your good guy’s father….it’s going to fall a little flat. When George Lucas did it, it was ingenious and immortal, but it’s been done to death, now. Make sure your surprise isn’t a cliché on a silver platter. (See what I did there? ;D)
3)      Pacing—don’t let the reader get bored, but don’t jerk them around, either. I really think the only way to figure this out, especially if you’re a newbie, is a critique group. Get some beta readers and ask them what parts were slow, what parts you lost them on, etc.

Keep in mind that the premise of the story itself must be a big enough surprise to wrap a story around. Like the Hunger Games example above, make sure your story is unique enough to tell. If you have a story about a woman who has a happy marriage and spends her days going to the grocery stories and singing lullabys to angelic children, well, no one is going to care. Likewise, if your premise has been done before—loner girl who falls in love with an unavailable vampire, perhaps?—no one is going to read it. Make sure the premise is a big enough surprise to wrap a story around. Harry was a wizard whose parents were killed by an evil wizard who tried to kill him, only Harry somehow lived and temporarily put the most powerful living evil wizard out of commission. Now that’s a story!

Photo Credit: fanpop.com
Surprise should be applied throughout your manuscript and to every part of your story: conflict, characters, setting, all of it!

Here’s a quick run-down of examples of surprise in different genres:

Mystery—Whodunit, clues, plot twists
Horror—crazy-scary monsters, the thing where everything is tranquil and then something violent happens that makes you jump.
Fantasy—must be world-driven. You must know your world well enough to set up the surprise so reader knows it’s a surprise.
Scifi—much like fantasy. You should also be well-read in the genre so you know how to break the rules.
Romance—the plot by definition is not a surprise (you know they’ll end up together) so the surprise comes from their pasts, their paths to one another, and the obstacles that keep them apart. It’s not so much that they end up together but how they end up together.
Dystopian—the world itself; how it’s different from our own. Other than that, surprises are world and/or character driven.
Humor—takes what people know or the mundane and twists it. Obvious jokes (why did the chicken cross the road…) will never be as funny. If people are surprised by the humor, they laugh much harder and longer.

I don’t think I’d thought much about the element of surprise in my writing before this. How about you? Have you thought about it before? What do you think of all this? How do you surprise your readers? Or as a reader, how do you like to be surprised?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Follow Friday--Happy Hype!


Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 


Q: What hyped up book was worth all of the fuss?

Photo Credit:
 goodreads.com

Grave Mercy!


Such a great book! Loved every second of it! Great premise, great characters, great writing! TOTALLY worth it! :D

Happy Friday, Everyone! :D



Thought 4 Thursday--5!


WELCOME TO THOUGHTS FOR THURSDAY!


Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo
Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quote I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. I'll include a linky list, or you can just respond in the comments.

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired! 

This week's theme is horses! Horses are used in many and varied way in literature. They are a major part of many historical stories, but historical, contemporary, and fantasy authors alike make use of them! They are majestic creatures full of nobility and personality! (Trust me!) :D Here are some horse quotes!
Photo Credit: flickriver.com




"In riding a horse, we borrow freedom." --Helen Thompson
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” --Shakespeare
“You’ve gone far away to a place with no horses and very little grass, and you’re studying how to write a story with a happy ending. If you can write that ending for yourself, maybe you can come back.” --Jennifer Echols, Love Story
“The horse, with beauty unsurpassed, strength immeasurable and grace unlike any other, still remains humble enough to carry a man upon his back.” --Amber Senti
“Those who get in the way of love's path will be kicked by horses." --Bisco Hatori, Kyoya

What do you think? How important are horses in our stories? Our history? Our culture? Which quote do you like best?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Charles Dickens Wrote Soap Operas! :D

Did you know...

Okay, historical tidbit time! This one's fun because it's short (I promise) and it's actually about a writer!

Photo Credit: altfg.com
Did you know that Charles Dickens' masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities was a soap opera or serialized story for the Victorian Era?

Our buddy Charlie didn't write the book all at once. He wrote it in installments for a newspaper, journal, or other episodic column. This was actually true of many of his works.

Crazy to think, isn't it, that to some extent at least, Dickens must have been a pantser, rather than a full-on plotter?

Anyway, it's said that when the ships carrying the latest installment of his story came into the bay, there were riots on the docks to get at them.

In completely unrelated subject matter, has anyone ever been to ComiCon? *winks*

Victorian Era Riot
Photo Credit: suite101.com


ComiCon "Geek Riot"
Photo Credit: iO9.com

Just sayin.'

What do you think? How much has our society really changed in 250 years, when it comes to needing our escapism, and to know how a story is going to end?


Top Ten Tuesday--Bookish People!


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet (Authors, Bloggers, etc.)

Sorry to all my wonderful blogger friends. I <3 all your blogs, but because you are alive and blogging, I hold out a very realistic hope of meeting you someday. Therefore, you didn't make the list! :( sorry. I went with all those I want to meet but never will (at least not while living!) :D

P.S. Answers are the same on both my blogs today. Just FYI to those who follow both! I DID do different pictures, though. You know, just in case you're curious! :D

1. Robert Jordan. Alas, my top pick (also probably my favorite author) passed away from a rare form of cancer in 2007. :( So wish I could pick his brain, though.

Author George R.R. Martin
Photo Credit: Goodreads.com
2. George R.R. Martin. Currently totally obsessed with his Song of Fire and Ice series. As an author, I can sometimes predict where an author might be taking a story line better than lay readers. Even though it would mean spoilers, I wish I could sit down and ask him some specific questions, just to see if I'm right. (I'd totally still buy the books, though! :D )

3. J.K.Rowling. Just because. Kind of obvious, right?

4. Stephanie Meyers. I'm not the biggest Twilight  fan, but Stephanie Meyer is an LDS author who has made it big, so I'd love to pick her brain about our mutual beliefs, how they figured in her story, and what motivated the choices she made both in her writing and in her career overall.

5. Terry Goodkind. Another favorite author of high fantasy. His Sword of Truth series is amazing!

6. Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Just cuz.

William Shakespeare
Photo Credit: biography.com
7. William Shakespeare. Yup! The big guy. There's so much speculation as to who he really was. Totally want to write his "true" story. :D 

8. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I put these two as one because they were in the same writer's group. (Totally making up my own rules here, but whatever). Two of the most innovative fantasy minds of their time.

9. Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness is one of my favorite books of all time! I'd love to pick his brain about it! :D

10. Charles Dickens. Totally want to know exactly how he came up with the story line for A Tale of Two Cities. I know it's set against the French Revolution, but still! Details please!


How about you? What Bookish people would you like to meet?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alex J Cavanaugh's Genre Favorites Blog Fest

Favorite Genre of:

Movie: Action Adventure--from any genre. I like action period pieces as much as futuristic or scifi/fantasy movies. SO excited for Looper. :D

Music: Rock 'n' Roll or Country--polar opposites, I know, but I can't help myself. I like Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin and Nickelback as much as Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Cary Underwood. :D

Books: High Fantasy. I'm actually very eclectic but this is what I read the most of, and what I tend to get the most excited about.

Photo Credit: imdb.com
Guilty Pleasure from any: I like slasher flicks. Can't help it. I love it when flawed heroines kick big B-movie bad-guy's butts!

What are your genre favorites?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guest Blogger Jennifer Griffith and Follow Friday!


Please welcome to my blog today, guest blogger Jennifer Griffith. She's the author of the phenomenal new book, Big in Japan, and is a fellow Jolly Fish Press author! Welcome Jennifer!
(Follow Friday Below.)

A New Definition for the Great American Novel
            I remember a few years ago when I was just starting to write, my mom asked me to call a lady from our town and visit with her about my aspirations. The lady encouraged me, and as she’d been a writer herself for many years, she shared excitement and made me think maybe I could really do this.
            However, at the end of our conversation, she said something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t you like to create something lasting, something that can really make a difference?”
            I was taken aback.
            While I murmured consent, I was thinking inside, “Why would I want to do that? I want to write something that’s fun! And that people want to read just because.”
Guilt Takes Hold, Fluffiness Triumphs
            Then, of course, being me I was sorely perplexed and overcome by guilt. Surely I shouldwant to create a book that meant something deep and truthful, or something that elevated the human condition. The so-called Great American Novel. The book that could turn minds around. The book that required hours of introspection once the reader set it down. The book that resonated.
            But the stories in my head? They were fluffy. They were funny. They had people scraping by amidst myriad embarrassing moments and trying to muddle through with a modicum of self-respect.
            They were in no way the Great American Novel.
            They were cotton candy instead. Light, sweet, gone.
            And yet, they got picked up by publishers, and read by their intended audience. For instance, my second novel is about a girl who (get this!) goes to college(!) and grows up a little (!). Shocker—it made it to the top of the Deseret Book sales list. Number one. (Yippee!) Briefly, sure, but whatever!
What is Greatness, Then? Let’s Dumb it Down, Shall We?
            Why is this? These stories and others like them still sell. I mean, look at sales of romance novels. Through the roof! And no one is going to mistake them for books having aspirations at earth-shattering literature.
            I don’t know about everyone else, but after a long day with…life, I don’t want to hunker down with a book that’s setting out to change the way I think or explore some great injustice of society or designed to even provoke thought.
            I want candy. Candy for my head. Chocolate, preferably, but I’ll take licorice, or whatever.
            There are great novels that serve this very important function.
           
Case in Point, er, Cases
Photo Credit: JollyFishPress.com
            Case in point: Last February I got an email from a second cousin of mine. She lives in Egypt and has for over 20 years. During the chaos that ensued at the ousting of their president, she was barricaded into her Cairo home. She emailed to say she was glad she had a book I’d written about a chocolate shop (and love, of course) to keep her company and let her mind go someplace else.
            Last week, I got a Facebook message from Ken, an American friend I knew in Japan. He’s now a U.S. soldier on active duty and said he’d taken Big in Japan (my newest novel about a super-tall obese Texan who goes to Japan and accidentally becomes the first blond sumo wrestler) with him on his latest flight to Afghanistan, or “The Stan” as my deployed cousin Jed calls it.
            “It was a great way to pass 10 hours,” Ken said. That was one of the nicest compliments I could’ve received.
Great With a Small G
            Call me a dumber-downer if you must, but I just don’t think it’s necessary for every American novel to be Great-with-a-capital-G. A great novel can be great without being heavy or pithy. Maybe a great book just needs to be great for the reader. A great novel can be a great escape from the storms and wars in our lives. A great novel can be a nice few hours away from pressure and worries.
            It can just be a great read.
           
Jennifer Griffith’s fourth novel, Big in Japan, is in bookstores and online wherever books and ebooks are sold. Jennifer and her husband live in Arizona where they are raising five kids and Jennifer is in a constant battle for household supremacy with her naughty dog. She is on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferGriffith) and Twitter (@GriffithJen). Her website is http://authorjennifergriffith.com.

Thank you so much, Jennifer! What an amazing post! Everyone hop over to her blog and facebook page if you have a minute and follow her! Also, check out Follow Friday below! :D


Welcome to Follow Friday! 


This meme is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View! :D



Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!  


Q: What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?


Photo Credit:
en.wikipedia.org
People might hate me for this, and I'm not sure it's a great answer anyway because the book is quite old and I don't remember if there was a lot of hype around it. I'm not a huge Phillipa Boyens fan. I didn't particularly like The Other Boleyn Girl. It wasn't the story of the writing, but rather the interpretation. The author ignored well-known facts in order to demonize who she wanted to in history and buoy up who she was rooting for. I just didn't particularly agree with her take on history. That's all.

How about you? What book were you disappointed in?



Monday, September 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday--Books That Make You Think

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Books That Make You Think (About people, life, the world, etc.)

These are in no particular order. For some reason, a lot of mine are classics. What can I say? They're classics for a reason, and they just happen to be the books that had a big impact on me. :D

10. Heart of Darkness--I read this book every year! Love it! Could discuss for hours!
9. Hamlet--Read it in 10th grade. Didn't think I'd like it. Couldn't get enough! Can still quote some lines! :D
8. Othello--Shakespeare knew everything. The ultimate guide to trust, relationships, and how true devils act (or rather don't) to get what they want.
7. Atlas Shrugged--okay I put this because it's the most well-known, but basically anything Ayn Rand ever wrote.
6. Great Expectations--One of the first, most subtle revenge stories I ever read. Also a tragic love story. Just sayin.
5. The Road--Thought about this one for weeks afterward. (Again, pretty much anything Cormac McCarthy has ever written, too.)
4. Harry Potter--Oh yes I did! This makes you think about friendship, relationships, memories, finding out who you really are, and what side you would choose if put to the test.
3. Wheel of Time--Another of my all-time faves. He's got motivations, characterizations, politics, relationships, battles--ALL OF IT!--down! I'm telling you, you won't be able to stop reading them!
2. Bible--specifically the Old Testament. You want to learn things, not just about history but about dynasties, royal families, human motivations and true tragedy, read the Old Testament. I did it last year and I couldn't believe how much I learned!
1. The Hunger Games--Come on! Who hasn't sat and pondered just a little bit?

What are your Top Ten Books that make you think?

Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click here.

Photo Credit: mvps.org
So Friday's RMQ was: "Most people don't see the world as it is. They see it as they are, and as a king, you need a broader view."

This was said by Jodie Foster playing Anna Leannowens in the film, Anna and the King. Another one of my all-time favorites. No one guessed this one, though.






Today's RMQ:

"You have seen many things...and you do not fear death. But you sometimes wish for it...I also. It happens to men who have seen what we have seen. And then I come to this place of my ancestors. And I remember, like these blossoms, we are all dying...To know life in every breath. Every cup of tea. Every life that we take. That is the way of the warrior."

One point for actor, one point for character, one point for film. Any guesses?

An Inequality You Probably Don't Know Much About

Source: docstoc.com
What do you know about the culture and/or history of India? If you're like most westerners, probably not much. :D But India has a rich culture with a distinct class or "caste" system. There are five major categories:

1)  Brahmin: the rich, priestly caste
2) Kshatriya: the military and elite ruling caste
3) Vaishya: trading and agricultural castes
4)  Shudra: the serving class--servant's to the first three
5) Untouchables--the people were entirely shunned by society and were not actually considered to be their own caste because they were not worth noticing or mentioning.

When I was in the 6th grade, I had an amazing teacher who I knew only as Miss Nelson. (Really not kidding.)

One day she came around the class while we were doing individual work. She held a hat with many folded-up pieces of cardstock in it above our heads. She told us to pick one without looking. Mine had a purple dot colored on it. There were five different colors, and what color we picked determined what group we would be in. Miss Nelson had decided to teach us about India's caste system.

I was lucky enough to blindly pick the color that represented Brahmin, or the highest, richest caste. The teacher instructed us on how to place our desks into lines by caste. The Brahmin's, of course, were in front. Members from other "castes" were assigned to us as our protectors or servants. The servants had to follow us wherever we went around the room, because they had to wait on  us hand and foot. The warriors had to do the same, in order to "protect" us.

That meant I was annoyed because people had to follow me around all day, while they were annoyed because every time I got up from my seat, they had to as well. I remember the teacher handing the upper two castes of children water bottles, saying we might be thirsty. Then she gave us Brahmins a candy bar as well. One of the children in the class objected.

"That's not fair!"

"No, it isn't," Miss Nelson said, "but this is the way it was."

I remember a profound silence settling over the class. What a great way to drive a point about inequality home in a classroom of twelve-year-olds. On our first recess, we were allowed only to talk to and play with those of our caste. (By 2nd recess, she gave us a break. :D)

It was a supremely enlightening experience and, of course, soon after I started formulating a story. I actually started writing it, but I never felt like I could get all the research I needed. I was too young to have an adequate grasp on it all. Besides, my premise was VERY Romeo and Juliet. What can I say? Teenaged-girl.

Now, looking back, I can see how profoundly that experience effected me. I would still like to do a story set against this backdrop, but probably won't very soon. It's something to think about for the future, though. And hey! You learned something new, didn't you? :D

What do you think? What kinds of conflict would you put into a story based upon the caste system in India?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012--I'm Participating! :D

Hi there! Hope everyone's having a freakin' fantastic weekend! Just wanted to let everyone know that Bloggiesta 2012 is currently having sign-ups. This is an event that runs Sept. 28-30 (over the weekend). There are a variety of topics and interests involved. I've never done it before but it sounds great! From what I can tell, it's just basically bloggers networking and sharing information with each other to make their blogs even better. Sounds great, doesn't it? If you want to participate, go to http://www.theresabook.com/2012/09/bloggiesta-participants-welcome-lets-get-signed-up/ to get details and instructions on how to sign up! Well, happy Saturday, everyone! See you Monday! :D

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Follow Friday--Current Reads!


Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 


Q: What are you reading right now? How do you like it?


source: IMDb.com
I am currently trying to read two classics at once (I wouldn't recommend this!) I reading both Les Miserables and Anna Karenina. I have a lot of down time at work so I simply read the free Goodreads e-versions of both on my iphone. It's very slow going--I've been reading both for months but still have a LONG way to go. I'm joining a read-along for Les Mis hosted by Dee's Book Blog to help push me along to finish it. My goal is to have both finished by the time their movies come out. (Anna Karenina in Nov; Les Miserables in Dec.)

source: overturecenter.com
I'm actually liking both a lot. The writing is a bit much to wade through but I am thoroughly enjoying both of the stories. :D

How about you? What are you reading?


Random Movie Quotes (RMQ)

Don't know what this is? Click here.

So the last RMQ I did was on Tuesday. It was:

source: fanpop.com
"Either what we hold to be right and good and true is right and good and true for all mankind, under God, or we are just another robber tribe!"

No one guessed this one. It was Sean Connery playing King Arthur in First Knight. Seriously folks, one of the best films EVER! Check this one out!

So for today's RMQ:

"Most people don't see the world as it is. They see it as they are, and as a king, you need a broader view."


Who said it? Three possible points: one for film, one for character, one for actor. I'll give you some hints: It's said by a woman. This story has been made into no less than THREE film versions. Yup, it's THAT inspiring! :D Good luck!


Thoughts 4 Thursday--4

Image credit: 
devor / 123RF Stock Photo

WELCOME TO THOUGHTS FOR THURSDAY!


Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Readers may respond by either commenting on the quote I put forward or contributing a quote of their own. I'll include a linky list, or you can just respond in the comments.

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired! 

This week's theme is dragons!


"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." --G.K. Chesterton

What do you think of this quote? How important are dragons in our culture? Does anyone have any cool dragon quotes? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Historical Fiction: Not What I Expected-Part 3

For the final post in this series, I want to talk about the subject of Tricia Goyer's post. She talks about research and the amount that goes into historical fiction. She says most historical fiction authors research way too much and that too many historical details can weigh down your narrative.

Source:
mydeartrash.blogspot.com
I must say I disagree on the subject of too much research. I don't think a person can EVER do enough! Even if it doesn't end up going into the novel, you're still learning stuff. In my opinion, any amount of time and effort that goes into learning (especially about history!) is time well spent. And you never know when you'll be able to work in some little, salient detail that will make your manuscript downright magical.

Granted, when it comes to historical research, the amount of work tends to far outweigh the payoff, but still...

Tricia is right, though, that too many details CAN be the death of your manuscript. Like her, I see too many amateur authors trying to put chunks of their 10th grade history book into their novels. It's not unlike greenie authors who try to dump unending paragraphs of back story on their readers all at once. It must be worked in slowly, and with finesse. The same is true of historical details.

In a way, you should write the book as though the audience already knows the historical details. If your MC is part of the imperial court, they probably don't stop to explain the court's goings-on to themselves every day. Of course you must make sure your reader understands, but this is best done through your character's actions and dialogue, with as little exposition as possible. Otherwise, it feels like your character is stopping to give the audience a Shakespeare-esque monologue on something that's just another part of their everyday lives.

In that way, crafting a historical setting isn't much different than crafting any other kind.

What do you think? Do you think a historical setting would be harder to work with than a contemporary one? Do you think one can ever do too much research?

Below is an EXCERPT from my forthcoming novel, Citadels of Fire:

*Excerpt removed at publisher's request. Look out for Citadels of Fire, forthcoming September 2013*

What do you think of this excerpt?